More Tidbits on the Scot-Irish in America

McMichaels in the Civil War
Union and Confederacy

Note:  Approximately 132 McMichaels served in the Union Army and 127 in the
Confederacy, mainly because pre-1776 immigration from Scotland and Ireland
started primarily in Pennsylvania and led south in the seeking of land for a living.
While the first tidbit of history with start with the court martial of Captain John
McMichael, Commissary of Assistance by an Assistant Adjuntant General of the
Army of the Cumberland, William McMichael, the emphasis in the series is on
privates and sergeants, both since they are more representative of most Americans
and bore the brunt of the war, even as in any war "it is for the rich and fought by the

Historical Tidbit #1:
The Court Martial of John McMichael by William McMichael of the
Army of the Cumberland.

This is a historical tidbit on two McMichaels that collided in a court

I. Introduction to Captain John McMichael and Major William McMichael.  
{Note: you can sort of tell the branch of the McMichaels as well as other
clans and sephs by the naming pattern, like the fathers are Williams and the
first son Johns, etc.}
a.  “0244 McMichael, John Captain, Commissary of Subsistence, 11th Army
1863–1864.”    Observations:
1. There were only 16,000 men in the Union army at the beginning of the
civil war, so the question is begged of whether Captain John was a West
Point graduate and regular army; however that brings up another point, that
the war had been going on since 1961, and where was he for 2 years.
2.  The interesting fact is that some confederate prisoners were offered
service in the Union army when they were paroled from prison camp.  
While most McMichaels were privates and sergeants like the general
population, it would be hard to believe that Sgt John McMichael of the 10th
Texas Infantry, a prisoner at Fort Douglass in Illinois, would be jumped to
the rank of Captain even for Commissary work, when the prisoner
exchange and release was made in 1963.
3. “Commissary of Subsistence” demands explanation, but most in the
military know of the Commissary.
4. 11th Army Corp:  
b.  “0263 McMichael, William Major, Assistant Adjutant General, U.S.
Department of the Cumberland, 1861–1865.”      Observations:
1. William McMichael was only a Major but served as “Assistant Adjutant
General” to General Thomas {to be shown later in the court martial
2. Since Major William served in the “US Volunteers” of the Department of
the Cumberland, he was not a regular officer before the war, what today
would be considered the reserves.  However since the Department of the
Cumberland, later at the court martial to be called the Cumberland Army,
orgainized later in the war from an Ohio Regiment, and William's service
started in 1861, the issue of what he did before and after is raised.
II. The Source of this Information is Papers of Union Staff Officers, 1861–
1865   Part 2: “H” through “P”.   {The photo below is of  Staff of Officers at
Headquarters of 6th Army Corps, Winter of 1864.}

“No event in American history directly affected a greater proportion of the
nation’s population than the Civil War. Three million Americans fought in
the war. More than 600,000 sacrificed their lives. The Civil War was not
fought by professional soldiers––there were only 16,000 officers and
enlisted men in 1861––but by men recruited from their hometowns into
regiments or smaller local units. The activities and experiences of
volunteer officers provide an important perspective on both the
prosecution of the war and the elitism of the Union officer corps. Papers of
Union Staff Officers, 1861–1865, Part 2: “H” through “P” consists of reports
and correspondence by and concerning officers serving on the staffs of
various departments, corps, divisions, and brigades. The papers reveal a
staff officer’s daily routine and organization. Most of the documents are
required reports that state where an officer was stationed and in what
activities they were involved. Letters, telegrams, and military orders mainly
cover duty assignments and leave of absence requests. Most folders
contain brief military documents relating to entrance into service;
mustering out of service, including resignations and honorable and
dishonorable discharges; charges and specifications for courts-martial and
courts of inquiry; and changes in rank and duty stations.” {http://cisupa.}

III. About Staff Officers as contrasted to Field Officers.

“The Union army had almost fifteen hundred general officers during the
Civil War. Each general officer was assisted by a number of staff officers in
a variety of departments. Staff departments included: • Adjutant General •
Chaplain Service. • Corps of Engineers • Corps of Topographical Engineers •
Advocate General • Inspector General • Medical Department • Ordnance
Department • Pay Department • Provost Marshal • Quartermaster
Department • Signal Corps • Subsistence Department.”  {http://cisupa.}

Subsistence Department––supplied the army’s food.

IV. The Court Martial.